Iran tops the list of countries that Americans consider the greatest enemy of the United States, followed by China, according to a new Gallup World Affairs poll
Alarm over Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s belligerent threats of war against the United States and Israel, and the possibility of a disruption in oil flow leading to higher gas prices are propelling Americans’ negative views of the Middle East nation, according to Gallup.
For example, 87 percent of those surveyed gave Iran an unfavorable rating, the most negative measured in the survey.
The Feb. 2-5 poll of 1,029 adults found that 32 percent of those surveyed ranked Iran as the nation’s greatest enemy, an increase of 7 percentage points from last year. Almost 25 percent listed China as the top threat, followed by North Korea with 10 percent; Afghanistan at 7 percent; and Iraq, at 5 percent.
Broken down by political leanings, Gallup found that Iran rates as the top enemy among all party groups, though Republicans are slightly more likely than independents or Democrats to mention Iran. Republicans are also more likely to mention China than Democrats are.
Russia didn’t make the Gallup top five list of current greatest enemies; it shared sixth place with Pakistan, with 2 percent of those surveyed ranking both as a threat.
One percent of those surveyed indicated they consider the United States itself to be its own worst enemy.
And although China ranked second on this year’s U.S. enemies list, 41 percent of survey participants gave it a favorable rating.
“Americans now view China as the world’s greatest economic power,” Gallup noted in its analysis. “And China’s impact on the United States’ economic situation may be the driving force behind Americans’ increasingly apprehensive views of that country.”
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